Attorney General’s Office prevents community release of violent predator
OLYMPIA, WA — A Cowlitz County jury has decided that repeat sex offender Ivan Walkowski is a dangerous predator and must remain confined to the State’s Special Commitment Center on McNeil Island. In the interest of public safety, prosecutors from the Attorney General’s Sexually Violent Predator (SVP) Unit have been fighting since late 2012 to prevent Walkowski from being released into the community.
Walkowski, 36, has been convicted of three sexually violent offenses, two in 1993 and one in 1996. He was incarcerated for those crimes and scheduled for community release in November 2012. The Attorney General’s Office petitioned to have him committed as a sexually violent predator. Since then, he has been at the Special Commitment Center awaiting trial, which began on June 2.
Washington’s Sexually Violent Predator (SVP) law allows the state Attorney General’s Office (AGO) to petition for the civil commitment of violent sex offenders who, because of a mental abnormality and/or personality disorder, are proven likely to engage in predatory acts of sexual violence if released.
AGO prosecutors successfully argued during the trial that Walkowski did meet the criteria of a sexually violent predator and was likely to engage in predatory acts of sexual violence unless confined to a secure facility. The jury unanimously agreed, committing him to the Special Commitment Center.
The case was handled by Assistant Attorneys General Jeremy Bartels and Katharine Hemann.
In 1990, Washington became the first state in the nation to pass a law permitting the involuntary civil commitment of sex offenders after they have served their criminal sentences. The Attorney General’s SVP Unit was established shortly thereafter.
The AGO SVP unit is responsible for prosecuting sex predator cases for 38 of Washington’s 39 counties (King County being the exception). In Fiscal Year 2013, the unit tried 19 cases, won 16 civil commitments and secured one recommitment. One trial ended in a hung jury and one offender was found by a jury not to meet criteria to be committed as a sexually violent predator.
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The Office of the Attorney General is the chief legal office for the state of Washington with attorneys and staff in 27 divisions across the state providing legal services to roughly 200 state agencies, boards and commissions. Attorney General Bob Ferguson is working hard to protect consumers and seniors against fraud, keep our communities safe, protect our environment and stand up for our veterans. Visit www.atg.wa.gov to learn more.
Janelle Guthrie, Director of Communications, (360) 586-0725